The City of Gonzales has annexed significant acreage along Hwy 44 south of Interstate 10 over the last decade, plus, causing more than a little angst to its neighbors in the unincorporated area which encompasses Brittany and Pelican Point. 341 acres which became Conway Subdivision, the Edenborne tract where River Parishes Community College sits…local residents appear in force to decry the city’s perceived encroachment on their rural way of life. They attended Monday’s Planning/Zoning Commission meeting, successfully protesting Dempsey Pendarvis’ second attempt to have three acres annexed into the Jambalaya Capital of the World.
His 2015 Petition to Annex the same property (3 acres in the triangular shape formed by Hwy 44, Hwy 941 and proposed roundabout) was rejected by the City Council.
The meeting occurred on December 7, “a date that will live in infamy” because Monday commemorated the Japanese Imperial Navy’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Pendarvis, being Pendarvis, opened his remarks by calling for remembrance of D-Day. It was all downhill from that inauspicious beginning.
What, if any, benefit the City of Gonzales might derive from taking the acreage in is a mystery; and one that Pendarvis could not resolve in his rules-defying diatribe against unfair treatment he perceived from the city. Pendarvis ignored Vice Chairman John Lanoux’s (Chairman Frank Cagnolatti was absent) admonition against exceeding his three-minute speaking allotment.
“Some people are allowed to make a profit,” he moaned, “while others are not…This is about who can sell petroleum products locally.”
It was a direct shot at the Robert family which maintains a distributorship, with its office approximately one mile to south on Hwy 44. But there is no gas station south of I-10, and the nearest one is owned/operated by a separate entity. It was a ludicrous argument made by Pendarvis whose questionable grasp of the facts should give pause to the city fathers whenever dealing with him.
Pendarvis is used to getting his way, though.
As it happens, Pendarvis’ acreage is the site where Louisiana DOTD intends to build a roundabout. The roundabout will encroach on the property, rendering it even less marketable. Pendarvis wanted to build a truck-stop in 2015 which, given the loss of land to DOTD, is less tenable than it was five years ago.
“We need to know what you want to do,” insisted Commissioner Lanoux.
He claimed to have interested buyers, declining to disclose identities initially. Pressed by the commission, Pendarvis claimed to have a buyer interested in constructing an office building. No one believed any of it.
The commission unanimously rejected the annexation petition though, procedurally, Pendarvis could still present the petition to Gonzales’ City Council.